Maria Thompson Daviess

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Maria Thompson Daviess
Portrait of Maria Thompson Daviess.jpg
Portrait of Maria Thompson Daviess by Ella Sophonisba Hergesheimer, frontispiece of Anne Ashley's master's thesis, "Harpeth Valley in the Fiction of Maria Thompson Daviess," 1935.)
Born(1872-11-25)November 25, 1872
Harrodsburg, Kentucky
DiedSeptember 3, 1924(1924-09-03) (aged 51)
New York City
EducationWellesley College
Known forNovelist and artist

Maria Thompson Daviess (November 25, 1872 – September 3, 1924) was an American novelist and artist, best known for her popular novels written with a "Pollyanna" outlook.

Daviess was born in Harrodsburg, Kentucky in 1872. After her father died when she was eight, her family relocated to Nashville, Tennessee. She studied one year at Wellesley College, and then went to Paris to study art. Returning to Nashville, she continued to paint and also took up writing. Her first novel, Miss Selina Lue and the Soap-box Babies was published in 1909. The Melting of Molly, published in 1912, was one of the top best-selling books for the year. She published sixteen novels between 1909 and 1920.

In 1921, she moved to New York City, where she died in September 1924. She did not marry and had no children.[1][2][3]


Works by Maria Thompson Daviess include:

  • Miss Selina Lue and the Soap-box Babies (1909)
  • The Road To Providence (1910)
  • Rose of Old Harpeth (1911)
  • The Treasure Babies (1911)
  • The Melting of Molly (1912)
  • The Elected Mother, A Story of Woman's Equal Rights (1912)
  • Andrew the Glad (1913)
  • The Tinder Box (1913)
  • Sue Jane (1913)
  • Phyllis (1914)
  • Over Paradise Ridge (1915)
  • The Daredevil (1916)
  • The Heart's Kingdom (1917)
  • Out of a Clear Sky (1917) – filmed in 1918 as Out of a Clear Sky with Marguerite Clark
  • The Golden Bird (1918)
  • Bluegrass and Broadway (1919)
  • The Matrix (1920)
  • Seven Times Seven (1924) (autobiography)[4]
  • History of Mercer and Boyle Counties (1924) (originally published as newspaper columns in the Harrodsburg Democrat)


  1. ^ Gaston, Kay Baker. MARIA THOMPSON DAVIESS: THE MAKING OF A WRITER AND SUFFRAGETTE, in Tennessee Historical Quarterly (Vol. LXX Fall 2011 Number 3), pp. 196–211
  2. ^ Townsend, John Wilson. Kentucky in American letters, 1784–1912, p. 279-81 (1913)
  3. ^ Morrow, Libbie Luttrell Maria Thompson Daviess, The Book News Monthly (January 1914)
  4. ^ Clark, Edwin (May 18, 1924). Tastes of a Self-Sufficient Women, The New York Times (review of autobiography describes Daviess as "a writer of the Polyanna School")

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